tv PBS News Hour PBS April 11, 2019 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> nawaz: good evening. i'm amna nawaz. judy woodruff is away. on the newshour tonight: wikileaks found julian assange is arrested at the ecuadorian embassy in london, after his asylum is revoked. then, a coup in sudan. after 30 years in power, president omar al-bashir is out after months of protests. and, a year and a half after hurricane irma struck the florida keys, residents are still strugglings o rebuild host in the storm.n' >> we cat survive here, if the people tt make things run every day aren't, aren't here. and they can't stay if they don't have a place to live. >> nawaz: all that and more, on tonight's pbs newshour
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literacy in the 21st c. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in e ucation, democratic engagement, and vancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org.on >> and with thing support of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your p station from viewers like you. thank you. >> nawaz: julian assange, the founder of the anti-secrecy organization wikileaks, was arrested this morning in london, seven years after taking refuge in an embassy there.
the united states will seek his extradition on federal charges unsealed this morning, in connection with a gigantic leak of american intelligence nearly a decade ago. defiantly shouting at authorities, refusing to walk out on his own, julian assange out of the ecuadorian embassy after seven years oflum, toward the justice system that has long-pursued him. asshnge was charged by briti authories for failing to appear in court on previous charges. but u.s. authorities have also requested he be extradited for a charge related this role in the 2010 release of classified american intelligence and diplomatic material, with th b- army privadley manning, now chelsea manning. the u.s. department of justice alges "that in march 2010, assange engaged in a conspiracy with chelsea manning, to assist manning in crackg a password stored on u.s. department of defense computers connected to the secure internet protocol network." back in 2012, assange sought
protection in ecuador's london embassy, facing extradition to sweden on rape and moltation charges. >> i thank president correa for the courage he has shown in considering and in graing me political asylum. >> nawaz: but over the years, the controversy grew around assange's role in wikileaks, and their mission to expose government secrets around the obe. relations between assange and his hosts soured. today, ecuador's president lenin moreno said they'd had enough. us ( translated ): the asylum of mr. assange is unsinable. the patience of ecuador has reached its limit on the o behavimr. assange. >> nawaz: assange's work has long been the subject of intense debate. to his supporters, the australian hacker is a champion of free speech. a to his critics national securitymphreat. those eting legacies stem i from hnvolvement in one of u.s. history.ernment leaks in the 2010 leak by assange and wikileaks released classifieds docume u.s. activity in
afghanistan, and in iraq, including a graphic vio of a u.s. army helicopter assault on suspected militants o turned out to be civilians.d they also publmore than 250,000 diplomatic cables, that sent the obama administration and foreign diplomats reeling. those leaks put manning in jai her sentence was commuted by president obama, and she was released in 2017, only to be re-imprisoned in 2019. assange also published on wikileaks top-secret information stolen by c.i.a. contractor edward snowden, about the scope of u.s. government surveillance. snowden fled to russia and was granted asylum himself. the 2016 presidential election put the spotlighback on assange and wikileaks. emthey published damaging ls from the democratic party and secretary clinton's campaign, allegedly obtained by russian hackers, prompting this reaction from then-candidate donald p. >> wikileaks. i love wikileaks! >> nawaz: in an interview that year wh judy woodruff, assange defended the move.
>> let's say that, personally, i loved hillary clinton. would wikileaks still publish this materia of course it would. otherwise, we would be censoring it. that's our mandate it's actually interesting to think about what mediaor nizations wouldn't publish such material if it was given to them. >> nawaz: the trump administration's view of assange and wikileaks has evolved: >> wat the c.i.a. find the celebration of entities like wikileaks to be both perplexing and deeply tubling. because while we do our best to quietly collect ine rmation on tho pose very real threats to our country, individuals such as juln assange and edward snowden seek to use that information to make a name f themselves. >> nawaz: today, at his first court appearance, assange entered a plea of not guilty. his extradition hearing will take place on may 2. in our other top story today, the sudanese military announced it has overthrown president omar al-bashir, who ruled sudan for three decades.
the coup comes after months of massive protests demanding al-bashir step down. sudan's defense minister said the military is suspending the constitution, and will charge of the country for the next two years, before new elections are held we'll look at the coup, and its implications, later in the program. a powerful spring blizzard hammered the central u.s. today, bringing heavy snow and strong gusty winds. forecasters warned parf south dakota and minnesota could get as much as two feet of snow. meanwhile, in colorado, flurries osted the freshly-plante flowers in fort collins. the so-called bomb cyclone hasr knocked out po nearly 56,000 customers across minnesota and iowa. a federal grand jury in southern california has indicted attorney michael avenatti on 36 new charges, ranging from tax and s bank fraud, aling millions of dollars from clients. avenatti is best known f representing adult film actress stormy daniels, who claims to have had an affair with president trump.
federal prosecutors said avenatti swindled clients to servhis own interests. >> money generated from one set of crimes was used to further other crimes, typically in form of payments designed to string along victims, so as to prevent mr. avenatti's financial house of cards from collapsing. >> nawaz: avenatti said he wl plead not guilty to the charges. he could face up to 333 years in prison if convicted on all 36 counts. avenatti had already been arrested last month in new york for allegedly trying to extort $25 million from nike. a 21-year-old man has been arrested in connection to arsons at three black churches in louisiana. officials confirmed today the suspect, holden matthews, is the son of a sheriff's deputy in rural st. landry parish. the churches-- each more than0 ars old-- were set on fire between march 26 and april 2.ie no injwere reported. today, the state's fire marshal declared the community is safe
again. >> this investigation is one of the most unique in my 33 years, in that this was an attack on a. house of g though the spirit is still strong, the landmark has been destroyed. >> nawaz: matthews faces three charges of simple arson on religious building each count carries a maximum sentence of 15 years. the governor of ohio has signed one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills into law. it bans the procedure after the first detectable fetal heartbeat. that can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy-- before many women even know they are pregnant. ohio is now the fifth state to ban abortions after the first heartbeat. president trump today repeatedun unded claims made by his attorney general that u.s. intelligence ageies spied on
his 2016 presidential campaign. yesterday, william barr testified before congress that he believes "spying did occur" against the trump campaign. today, in an oval office meeting with south korea's president, mr. trump endorsed that assessment-- but offered no proof.>> here was absolutely spying into my campaign. f i'll go a stther. it was, in my opinion, illegal spying-- unprecedented spying-- and somethat should never be allowed in our country again, and i think his answ actually a very accurate one. >> nawaz: the senate's democrat, minority leader chuckr schumer,d today that barr's testimony "just destroyed the scintilla of credility he had left." former obama white house counsel greg craig has been charged with lying and hiding information about his lobbying work in ukraine. e indictment was announc today in washington. the federal investigation stemmefrom special council robert mueller's probe into former trump campaign chair paul manafort's work on behalf of a
pro-russian political party in ukrain the u.s. senate has voted to confirm david bernhardt as secretary of the interior. bernhardt had been leading the department as acting secretary. he is also a former oil and gas lobbyist. his predecessor, ryan zinke, resigned in december amid ethics investigations. retired pope benedict has penned a rare essay addressing the sex abuse scandal in the roman catholic church. it was published today in a german church magazine. benedict said the sexual revolution of the 1960s and "homosexual cliques" in seminaries were largely to blame for the crisis. he also sa during the 1980s and '90s, "the right to a defense was so broad as to make a conviction nearly impossible" for priests.ne ct has been criticized for not doing more to investigatee the abaims. in india, at least four people v were killed lent clashes, as the first phase of voting began in the country's national election. the vote is seen as a referendum on prime minister narendrainodi,
who's sea second term. nearly 900 million people are eligib to cast their ballots. the process is expected to take about six weeks to finish, before results are announced on may 23. and back in this countw , there are gns the nation's job market is strengthening. the labor depament reported jobless claims fell to a nearly 50-year low last week. en so, there was little movement on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average lost 14 poin to close at 26,143. the nasdaq fell 17 points, and the s&500 was unchanged. still to come on the newshour: analysis of the legal and political fallout from the arrest of julian assange. the president of sudan is ousted from power after 30 years. residents of the florida keys struggle to rebuild after a devastating hurricane. and, much more.
>> nawaz: for a closer look at the arrest of julian assange,d e long-running u.s. effort to prosecute the wikileaks founder, i'm joined by r jesselack, director of the whistleblower and source protection program at oup "expose facts." she represents former government ntractor and whistleblow edward snowden. amy jeffress is a former federal prosecutor. she served as a national security lawyer in the o departmejustice under president obama. and, jamil jaffer, formerse or counsel for the house intelligence committee. na served at the justice department's natsecurity division during the george w. bush administration. welcome to you all. amy, let me start with you. let's set aside politics, how all of this is going to be spunt by sups or critics of mr. assange, just legally, should he have been charged today? >> so, i don't want to opine on whether they should have charged him. i think a lot of the debate that's going on is whether he's a journalist, and if you readth indictment, which i did, the
puteres relate to com hacking. so the issue is not did he publish information that was illegally tained, but did he, himself, participate in violating the law in obtaining that information? >> nawaz: but legally there's a basis for those charges there? >> well, yes, it depends on the fact'scertainly. a very sparse indictment so we really don't know a lot about thevidence, but the crges inly legitimate. >> nawaz: jesselyn, let me ask you, it's a sparse indictment, and a narrow set of chargesbut you said already this sets a terrible precedent, you think. why? explain that to me. >> i think this can make any journalist o publisher vulnerable to charges under the computer fraud abuse act. i read the indictment, too. v ity thin right now. i don't know if they're planning on doing a supersedi indictment, or if that's even possible on an extradition warrant. but publishing classified formation independent u.s. about the u.s. should not be
criminalized under any statute. we hava first amendment. >> nawaz: but, again, this was not about the publishing of the material, right? the charges, as i understand them, related the alleged hacking, breaking into a secure system to get the mateexal. >> to thnt that it talks about assange-- again, i've seen alsorts of stuff in indictments because you can put pretty much anything in there. it's ju the government's side. but to the extent that a journalist is talking to a source, i mean, when i leaked to a journalist, he talked to me about how to go to kinko's and use an old-fashioned fax machine. i mean, that shouldn't be something that would be criminalized. >> nawaz: jamil jaffer, jump in here. you think this sets a precedent that's dangerous? is there a slippery slope >> no, absolutely not. look, what julian assange did here was he spoke to soa pern who he knew had authorized access to classifieio inform she had already given him tons of classified information. he wanted more. she said, "i can get into the system but i need to break io the password." she then downlose a piece of
software, gets acces to part of the password and gives to assange with the intent which she tried to do to crack the rest of the password to get further into the system. that's not first amendment protected speech. it's nothing like that. this is straight-up assistance to hack a computer sa classifie computer sys, get classified material and publish it. that is a crime under any circumstance, and absolutely the right thing for the government to charge asnge and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. l nawaz: let's try to fiin some of the information here. there was a decision made by the previous ad ministratit to prosecute, right? decided it was too fraught and too risky. obamahad to change 20 administration and this administration to get to that decision to prosecute proout? >> that's an interesting question and, again, i don't think i want to opine over whether to charge-- >> nawaz: what information to get from one to the next? >> evidence he violated the la the fact that was new to me-- and i didn't know anything about th w case while in
government, just to be clear-- but the fact that was new to me was thisem att on julian assange's part, which is alleged in the indictment, to asist then-bradley manning by helping crack a password to gain access to what they both knew was computer-- computer information that contained classified information. >> woodruff: >> nawaz: jesselyn, let me dig in on this with you, thouge becais is the charge, weght, related to the teevment hack. lready heard from mr. assange's lawyer. s , again, made the same argument, that t dangerous for journalists. ths man was acting aa journalist. how is that strong legal ground, though, when this doesn't seem to be related to first amendment issues? >> you know, again, this is under computer fraudse act, which has been incredibly-- it's an incredibly broad law, and this can criminalize-- even if you think journalists are not doing that, i mean, a lot of journalists walk sources through how to tranmasmit infon on secure drop. you know, and i think we create
this slippery slope in doing this. i attended chelsea-- chelsea's court-martial, chelsea manning's court-martial and this kind of interplay, this is the fist i'm hearing about this. and i had gone to fort meade, to these very-- like, it's shocking to me this wouldn't have come up earlier. >> nawaz: you think this changes the rules because. it opens up the door for,000 will sometimes interwact their sources in obtaining different kind of information? >> i think it does.id trump t make it a secret that he considers the press to be the emy, and here, i think you see the first step eye mean, we already have a so iurce put jail for longer than any other soece, reality winter has n in prison for giving information to a news outlet, and here you have an actual publisher.k so i this is a step beyond. i always said the war on
whistleblower was a backdoor war on journalism. >> nawaz: jamil, help me understand the timing if we can. thenadvertent filing back in november that there was this sealed criminal complaint against mr. assange. that was several months ago. what had to happen between them then and now that led to the arrest today? >> well, obviously, the ecuadorian embarrass let mronassange ouhe street. so this indictment was filed over a year ago in federal court, and so this indictment has been sitting sealed for over a year. a somehow thate this is a war on journalism is completely outrageous. there's non ar ojournalism. there's a war on teaching people who are trying to hack a password that's illegal under any standard. it's never been lawful. it will never bel.aw hacking a secure computer system is against the law and trying to crd k a passwr a classified system, that's illegal. there's no war on journalists.e' thno discussion of trying to use secure drop. this is how to break a password, which is exactly what mr. assange said he was trying
to do. he was able to do it. but he participated with chelsea manning in trying to do that, and that's a crime under federal law. period, full stop. >> nawaz: there's another question here about the protection he was granted by the ecuadorians. he had been there seven years. they obviously said there was some kindf credible fear, right, some level of protection he was owed. does that concern you that th were able to pull back that level of asylum? as>> absolutely. um grants are not doled out willy-nilly. you have to ow that you have a valid fear of persecution based on rpolitical esion. so to the extent that the u.s. has a history of vngiolahuman rights laws, particularly when you look at cases like thi look at chelsea manning, the rt-martialg her cou gave her credit time because she was, nax, tortured. whenou look at that kind of history, you could understand why-- why this would happen. >> nawaz: amy i want to give you the last word here. we have a little over a minute
and a halfa left now. are you worried that this sets a dangerous precedent, that it send a message to journalists and otherring the way they interact with sources and walk us through what happens next.r >> these charges again are not-- he's not charged with leaking. he's not charged with the espionage act defenses. he's charged with a computer fraud crime. so it's different from some of the other cases that have been more ctroversial, in my opinion. what happens next is he will have a heari in westminster mag straight's curt on may 2, as i understand it. pbae the hearing on may 2 will start to focus on the united states' extradition request. and in my experience,t aving servede embassy in london, these proceed accusation take a very long time.ll so he ave a full opportunity to present all of these defenses. he can have an appeal. he can take an appeal to the european court on man rights. and so this will take a long time to sort out. i don't think we will see julian
asornge in the united states months, if not years, and he may be able to launch a successful so it's going to unfold over a very long period of time. >> nawaz: several months, if not years. we'll be tracking it. amy jeffress, jesselyn radack, an vjamil jaffer, thank yy much for your time. >> thank you. >> nawaz: we return to the coup in sudan, ending the 30-year rule of omar al-bashir. as nick schifrin reports, protestors helped end one reign of oppression, but they fear another may be on the way. ( crowd celebrating ) >> schifrin: after the largest peaceful demonstration in a generation... ( dancing ) >> schifrin: ...after 30 years
of authoritarian rule, there was jubilation in the streets, forth e protestors who helped depose a despot. they held aloft a young soldier who sided with them against thee me. they pulled down omar al- bashir's face from ubiquitous posters. and they didwet care if they re sitting in traffic, as long as they could declare "v" for victory. they expressed hope oday marked a new beginning. >> ( translated ): we have been under his rule for 3 tyears and fes step came too late, but what is important, is that everyone is happy now. >> ( translated ryone will now work for a better, united sudan. >> schifrin: since989, 75-year-old omar al-bashir forcibly united sudan by waging wars while wearing a smile. in southern sudan and in darfur, his litias scorched earth an massacred his enemies. hundreds of thousas died, and suffered from famine. he was indicted fowar crimes, crimes against humanit and genocide. and in the 1990s, he hosted osama bin den.
he led thanks to military support, but today the military removed him and promised a two-year transition government, administered by the military,cl and ed by defense minister awad mohamed bin auf. >> ( translated ): we announce a complete cease-fire, and the release of all prisors immediately, providing an atmosphereor a peaceful transition of power, building political parties, holding free and fair elections b the end of the transitional period, and introducing a perman constitution. >> schifrin: but for the hundreds of thousands who protested a regime and its mili enough.diwasn't good imately after the announcement, protedtors surroun army general's vehicle and demanded a transition to democracy.ns they called deminister, ibn auf, a "regime crony." the u.s. still has sanctio against him. >> it was a massive disappointment.ho peopleed in anger. we do not accept this, because they haven't done anything, no change, no real change. >> schifrin: muawia shaddad is a university okhartoum professor
and member of the civil society alliances forces that helped lead the protests. he says the demonstrions will continue until their demands are mol met. >> we need full decracy, with all the principles and pillars of good governance. we want a represtation of the people. we want to survive from the economic collapse. we also would like to ensure human rights for all, and this should be done by a governing structure that is a truly civilian. ( protests ) >> schifrin: the demonstrations began in december as protests against increased food prices, but quickly became political. aey took over intersectio overpasses, chanting "the people want to build a new sudan." day, and night-- ( violin ) they drafted a nationalist message, and demanded the man who himself took power in a military takeover, finally cede power. bashir has survived prior
protests, but these were different. they peaked in khartoum, the traditional base of bashir's power. protestors included ops,sition figureorking class, and the elite, iluding the children of regime members. and the majority were women.tr in an exely patriarchal society, women helped lead the movement, and 22-year-old alaa salah became its icon. ( chants ) she wore the uniform oworking sudanese women, with touches of adition. and where previous protests died out, female protesrs provided staying power-- --especially as dozens of protestors were killed. today, they vow to keep protesting. they say they may have won today's battle, but they are fighting a war tt is far from over. so why did the protests lead to the downfall of president bashir, and what are the challenges a head for sudan? we turn to khalid mustafa medani, associate professor and chair of the african studies department at mcgill university
in montreal. the military is talking about a two-year transition. protesters say that's not enough. are we on the road for continuing protests and a continuation of a regime just without bashir? >> absothutely. i thine's no question we're on the way to continuing protests. i think this is essentially an ternal coup, replacing one military leader, you know, withe an and,sh, it's been very clear with respect to the position of the opposition that this is unacceptable. their demand is very straightforward, veratclear, and s a transition to a civilian government that is overseen, perhaps by the military, basically just as a kind ofet carer. but composed of a number of different technocrats and representatives of the different opposition gups, in addition to representatives of those who have taken to the streets over these four mnths. so the protests, as you probably have been looking at in ter of the news, will continue and will be sustained by the opposcoion. they'v out with
statements, very strong statements today, sayinthat they will not tolerate this kind of continuation of the military regime, and they don't find the military transitional council legitimate because their demand is not only to get rid of bashir-- which has been successful, of course-- but also to really dismantle the regofim, anourse the acting head of state at the moment, the defmiee ster, is really just another member, personnel of that-- ofat regime. >> schifrin: so is the fear the problems will persist? we're talking about now aivide 20 military, the intelligence services, and the militias. we're talking about the economic crisis that sparked these protests. i mean, will today solve any of ose problems at all? >> no, absolutely not. i mean, that is really the central question-- that is, that the economic crise is so deep, you have annflation ratef over 60%. you have, of course, a great deal of unemployment. basically the economy is reallyu under bacy, which is really problematic. so the economic crisis cannot be
resolved through milid ry means. e reason that this internal coup has happened, and the reason that bashir has been ousted, basically is because of divisions within the military itself, in particur televisions and differences between the top brass of the military, including the current head of government, and middle and lower ranking soldiers who have taken the side, essentially, with the protesters. bat, really, is the catalyst for whyashe was ousted by his former loyalt a defense minister. so the internal rift is the reason for this internal coup, but this is by no means going to solve the deep economic crisi and the grievances that have really propelled these protestsh h, of course, are unprecedented in sudan's history, since they are not only the largest protest across the country,oacross social grups, but also, they're very sustained, over four months. so they're basically, the longest protest we have seen in the history of sudan.
and the protests will, in fact, continue. protesters at thmoment are saying that they're going to continue their sit-ins ihen hundreds of thousands until the real kind of regime falls, or a new transition to civilian government occurs. >> schifrin: let's qckly try get through u.s. actions and interests here. over the last few years with e sudan, the u.s. has been normalizing relations. the state department released a statement calling for a "spdy transition to a civilian-led government." will the otesters conder that statement supportive of their demands? >> absolutely. i think thatat the sent that came out on april 9 that was released by the united states, norexpwairkt united kingdom, the troika, was very positive with respect on the part of the protestersn terms of the support for a transition to democracy ad rule of lw. that is really important. it's very clear that the united states is sending signals that it's very, very interesd and
is in a democratic transition. so it's an-- of course, indirectly supporting thepr esters. of course, what the protesters and the opposition, led by the sudanese professional associations would like, is increasing pressure byunhe ed states and other western allies to this present regime, in order to speed up the democratic proces what they're demanding very specifically at the moment is to nenttiate with segof the military to immediately have a civilian government or interimrn gont that is manned by civilians to oversee a four-year transition period to multiparty democracy. >> schifrin: professor khalid medani, we'll have to leave ite. th thank you so much. >> okay, you're welcome, thank you. >> nawaz: stay with us.
coming up onhe newshour: the challenges faced by midwestern farmers, after recent flooding. making sense of this year's tax refunds. and, terrence davenport gives his "bef but spectacular" take on the economy in rural arkansas. just about every region in the country has been hit by natural disasters or extreme weaer in the past two years. we have w a pair of stories on how people are trying to recover. w firsgo to the florida keys where hurricane irma struck hard a year and half ago. last month, the federal emergency management agency, or fema, ended its temporary housing program for people impacted by the hurricane. but, as special correspondent aliciaenendez reports, rebuilding remains a work in progress. >> first thing you have to do is get everything out. water level was up here, and all the sheetrock was wet. >> reporter: for brian vest, it's been a long 18 months.
the storm ripped his rf, water seeped in, and black mold invaded. the rebuilding process has taken time, savings and patience. yet, vest is in a better position than most. >> we have resources, as i call them. there are others down here who do not. the elderly, retired who are living on social security, f who've been he 40 years. they're the ones who are really struggling, because their places have been paid for, for two decades, and now it's destroyed and they don'tave the money saved up to fix it. >> reporter: hurrica irma hit the keys in september of 2017 as a major category-4 storm. it was estimated to be the fifth most damaging storm in u.s. history-- at a cost of $50 billion. 77,000 people call the florida keys home. hurricane irma wiped 1,100 homes off the map entirely. thousands more sustained damage. the rebuilding efforll
underway have exposed a larger challenge, one that existed before hurricane irma hit: a lack of affordable housing. simple geography is one of the biggest obstacles to buildg of any kind here. the keys are a 120-mile-long chain of narrow islands. >> the cost of land is more expensive, the cost of t materials to come into our county is more expensive. and then, finding the people to build the homes is more expensive, because we're in a workforce housing crisis.in who's to build the homes, where are they living when they're here working as a construction w electrician? >> reporter: michelle coldiron is t recently-elected commissioner of monroe county. that includes all of the keys. >> i think where we're being challenged right now as beingge where it iing our reimbursement from fema. there's so many moving parts. getting funding approved or
getting a bill approved or it's multi-pronged. so it takes longer. >> reporter: the avenues neighborhood on big pine key is one of the places irma hit the hardest. the island lies between two of the bier population centers-- key west and marathon-- and many of the people who live and work in the keys call it home. >> some people never came back. like, they didn't come back after the storm. there was nothing to come back to, and i think they knew it. >> reporter: it's here that philanthropist maggie whitcomb is trying to help address the affordable housing problem, one cottage at a time. y >> can see the water through that window. >> reporter: the florida keysmm ity land trust is building homes that will be designated as affordable rentals permanently. one is finished; three more are under construction, with more to follow.ct the stes are elevated to avoid flooding and engineered to withstand 200-mile-per-hour windsu
>> we can'ive here if the people that make things run every day aren't, aren't here. and they can't stay if they don't have a place to live. d >> reporter: but the neere is greater than the land trust can meet. homelessness is a real problem here. stephanie kaple, who works with people experiencing homelessness in key west, says hurricane irma only exaceated the problem. >> a lot of people fro hurricane irma would not call themselves homeless. as the programs have ended and as fema has rolledut its support, they are now looking at this like many are, you know, they have to find their own solutions now. >> reporter: tourism in the keys harebounded since irma. and as the biggest economic engine, that's vital to recovery efforts, but it also creates a unique challenge. >> as every hotel in the county reopenand they do their ribbon-cutting and we're thrilled, we're happy. it's great.
yay! business is coming back to life! and we have to balance that with so many of our families are still struggling. and the last thing we want are volunteers across the united states to think we don't needp, any more hecause we still do. >> reporter: volunteers are sorely needed-- and one group thinks it's found a new way toco odate them: shipping containers. >> these are 40-foot steel containers that, each one-- the blue ones-- each one sleeps ten individuals. >> reporter: the idea was hatched by michelle luckett and the monroe county long-term eecovery group. this "voluvillage" will house people who want to help rebuild t can't afford the steep pricetag of a night's stay in the keys. >> in high season, the hotels n range anywhere between $250 up to $400 a night. that's a bit much to ask a volunteer to come down to donate their time, and thenave the expense of lodging as well. >> reporter: it's a new idec in disasterery-- a mobile housing unit that can ostensibly
travel wherever a storm, wildfire or earthquake hits. the county leased the land to the recovery group for $10. hindsight being 20/20, if this haexisted immediately following the hurricane, do you believe that the keys would be in a different position today? in i think if volunteer ho was a solved situation anywhere, not just in the keys, but anywhere in the country, when a disaster hits-- this is a viable plan that changes the narrative. having volunteers come in immediately after the storm? everyone wants to help. because what happens as you get oprther and farther away from the storm is that forget, and people outside of that immunity forget. >> reporter: ands not just homes that need rebuilding. a critical ecosystem in the keys is also in trouble. mile after mile of the mangroves that encircle the keys are dying, choked by debris left over from hurricane irma. brian vest has formed an army-- the conch republic marine army--
to try and help them. one boat ride at a time, he and tengs of volunteers are spen their own money and time to pick up everything from gas cans to sofas to refrigerators, but it's a op in the bucket of what needs hauling out. >> so the two of us just got this out in probably 20 minutes. and imagine what 100 people could do in a day, or 15 people working full time doing this all day long with the proper gear. >> reporter: what do you need to bring it to scale? >> we need funding. that would give us the ability to acquire boats like is and put paid captains and deckhands on board, coming out and helping us clean up monday through friday. this will take decades to come back, and we don't have that long. our kids don't have that long. so we've got to do it, and we've got to do it now. >> reporter: that spirit is what's keeping people hopeful, even as rebuilding is estimated to take anywhere from three to five years. and that's without any more hurricanes. for the pbs newshour, i'm alicia
menendez in the florida keys. >> nawaz: in another part of the country, farmers are trying toou drand rebuild after record flooding last month. vice president mike pence isdu scd to visit the midwest tomorrow to speak with farmers and ranchers, who face anug already agricultural environment now made worse by as jack williams of pbs station net in nebraskyereports, this ar's planting season will bele chaling for many farmers. >> fghodwater went right throu our place here, and it took a gulley right out of ddle of the place. >> reporter: ihooper, in northeast nebraska, the flood water has gone down, but for farmers like tom geier, the work has just begun. >> our water lines for ourd cattle are laight here, and it took the water line right out of the ground. >> reporter: he's farmed this land, abou400 acres, for the past 42 years, and he's never seen anything like this. >> just, devastation, wherever you look.
>> reporter: before the flood, many midwest farmers like geisler were dealing with challenges such as low commodity prices, trade tariffs and high property taxes. added to their already heavy burden, the high waters will likely delay the planting season set to start this month. the water is even threatening some of last year's crops, stored away in bins that are now soaked. that could lead to even more lost income. >> just trying to get corn out of the bin-- wcan't get corn out of the bin, because it's wet on the bottom. we got to get it out of there. going to try to move it st today. >> reporter: geisler also raises cattle, and was amazed most of them survived several days ofst ding in ice-cold water with nothing to eat, because their owy had been washed away. he lost only twoand a couple of calves. how do you pull yourself up after something like this? >> keep going. that's all you can do. if you don't keep going, oursi buss will be gone. >> reporter: in the southeast nebraska town of peru, along the missouri river, getting back foto his fields, or even his farm, won't be easbrett adams. levees along the river failed,
and rising waters flooded hi farmland. he was finally able to check things out on a boat. >> over here is our main shop. this is kind of r farming headquarters, where literally everything happens-- shop, machinery storage, this and that. >> reporter: adams grows corn and soybeans with his father on 2,000 acres, b there's a good chance he won't plant anything in this ground this year. he's a relatively youner who missed the farm crisis in the 1980s, but still knows the ups and downs of thegriculture economy. >> we don't know how long it's going to take to repair these levees and the water to go away and this and that, so it's a big, it's going to be a hurt for a lot of people, me included. >> reporter: adams, who's married and has two kids, saysut he'll make it,ome might not. >> you get to a point and you're just like, you can't take it any longer you've got to keep fighting. i don't know how to do anything else. i was raised on a farm, and this is my livelihood, andna emoty and financially, i've got everything invested in this. >> reporter: for some farmerswi already dealin financial uncertainty before the flood, adding another layer of hardshis
ore than they can take. they've been calling the rural response hotline, the oldestsi farm chotline in the nation.ea h this last we set four new all-time monthhs for the most new first-time, high- stress phone callers. s>> reporter: john hansen the president of the nebraska farmers union, and has been involved with the hotline since 1984. >> so this is the worst ag turndown since the mid-1980s, so there's a great need of courseht for services row. and then again, the flood just makes all that even moreo. >> reporter: farmers and ranchers who know no other skills are faced with potentially losing their only source of income. many are facing mental health issues and increased stress. >> it's their identity. in addition to being a high- risk, capital tensive, low
margin business. >> reporter: chapter 12 farm bankruptcies in the midwest were up 19% last year, compared to 2017, although the numbers nationwide were tually down slightly, according to u.s. bankruptcy court statistics. creighton university economist ernie goss compiles a monthlyur economic sy for midwest states, and says for the most part, farmers entered the latest downturn in good shape. and, he says, despite the current tough times, long term, they're in a good business. >> there's one thing that we all need, and that's food. and that's globally. it doesn't matter if you're in china, india, france or germany, wherever. they need food, and they need it from the most productive farmers on the face of the earth, and that's the farmers in this nation, the u.s. d the farmers in the midwest>> reporter: at the nebraska farm bureau, president steve nelson says during the downturn in the 1980s, high interest rates and re farm debt drove a lot of farmers out of business. now, he says, higher costs for pretty much everything, along with tighter margins and now bad weather, are combing to make things rough for farmers.
>> it might be a year orwo before some operations figure out that they just aren't going to be able to recover from an event like we've had. >> reporter: back in hper, nebraska, tom geisler is hopeful. >> you just have to be resilient and keep going, and pefully it anll work out for us this year. >> reporter: forfarmers in the midwest, this summer crop season may be the most challenging they've ever seen. for the pbs newshour, i'm jack williams in hooper, nebraska. >> nawaz: the deadline for filing your taxes is right around the corner-- on monday. and this year is different for many taxpayers out there. it's the first year that fully incorporates big changes to the tax code-- all were part of a tax overhaul signed by president trump in 2017. this winter and spring, many taxpayers have been expressing frustration confusion about w these changes impact them. lisa desjardins has the details
in tonight's "making sense" segment. >> desjardins: something unusual is happening here. the new law did cut taxesov all for the vast majority of taxpayers, but many americans sending off their forms right now re somewhere between disappointed and stunned to see lower refunds, or even more taxes due thanxpected. jim tankersley covers this regularly for the "new york ti let me jump right into this. a lot of americans are very unhappy this week-- not necessarily about their overall tax bill, but about what they're seeing on theiwhtax form. is going on? >> well, what happened is, the united states compl tely overhaule way that it does individual income taxes, and there's been a lot of changes, and that has absolutely affected tot just the amount overall tha people pay but what was put into their paychecks every month, and how much they get back in refunds. and it's that calculation-- how much is withheld from your paychecku how much aretually seeing in your paycheck every month?
and how much did you get in a fund? that has proven to be very tricky. >> my undersi.nding is the s. changed the withholding table and did it in a way that it benefited weekland biweekly paychecks. the money went there instead of toward refunds, right? >> yes, when you cut tax rates, when they did, and change a bunch of deductions and exemptions, which they did. you have to change withholding rules. muthey have to decide hoh is the government going to take out of your paycheck every week or two weeks in estimation of wat taxes you're going to owe. the change they made essentially biased the system toward peoplee ing lesmoney in the-- sorry, getting more money in their paychecks, but having less money in refunds at the end. you could go in and change it, but that was the bias of the change. >> this all happened very quickly, too. and this law had other ma effects to it-- change in the amount people could deduct from their mortgages, for example; their state and local property taxei were those s also factors
in these changes in refunds we're teing? >> a e bit, particularly the state and local tax deduction, people in the washington area, new york, california, in high-tax states and high-tax cities have noticed, that have actually raised tagir taxes. n, it's a really small number of people in the united ing as who are actually see tax increase right now. but it is concentrated in plas where, you know, big media companies exist, and so we're hearing a lot about those folks who are upset. >> i want to talk about how many people are affected here, but there's some conflicting information. the i.r.s. is saying the average refund is about the same. however, "the ned york times" survey with survey monkey and reslpondents td you, about a third of them believe they are getting less of a refu year than they did last year. what do we know aboutow many people are really seeing less than they have in the past? >> so we n't know fr sure because the i.r.s. refund statistics are averages overall. we know that a little more than a million people so far have not
gotten refunds at all, compared to wha would have expected from last year's numbers. but our polling suggests, like, a third of people say that efundse not getting the that they expected or they're paying more, they're getting less of a refund. and that does not appear to us to be based-- >> one million americans is not a third of the american taxpayer base. >> yeah, it doesn't seem to us to be based, perhaps, in the reality that people are experiencing on their tax forms think charitably, we could say people are just surprised anmaybe they're misremembering from last year or misreading or-- there's a lot of things that can filling out your tax forms. it's also possible that it's just people who don't like the tax law are teling us that they didn't get refund they wanted, in part as a sort of prost to the tax law. >> let's talk about the psychology here. economists sy refund bad because you're giving the government too much of your money. they're holding it for you. but, you know, i reached out to my twitter followers. i took a risk here. i asked them about their refunds, and i was surprised, i got a hunsge resfrom people who really want their refunds
and say this year now they're doing things like cancelling vacations. they can't pay to fix their roof because they expected more of a refund. where are americans on refunds? do they care more about refunds than they do about theiekr wely paycheck? >> i mean, i think it's a way of forced savings. you expect that y overpaid your taxes a little bit-- with which, by the way, is an interest-free loan to the government. let's just be really clear ifpa you ov your taxes. but you expect you'll get it back and you know, okay, every year ,get 000, $2,000, even just a couple hundred dollars back from the governme is something people count on that's very mooningful if their lives. it's a windfall. it's not a smnall amount of ey in their paychecks which you see overtime which they might not even notice. paychecks change for a lot of reasons-- health care costs change, you might have gotten a raise last year. you might not realize the tax cuts are helping you but when the refunds come in low, it's ac >> very quickly on the politics.
this is a point pride for republicans, the tax cut law. however, if people feel like they're not getting what they expected what, do the think the results are for republicans? >> our poll is if you really wanted to design a politically awesome, maximized tax cut, you woulejust triple evrybody's refund. because that is the thing that really makes people happy.s republicve been disappointed that the law's numbers have not picked up since it was pathsed. and k this is maybe one of the reasons why. people-- it seems to us are not noticing the tax cuts that they actually got. >> speaking for myself, i would take triple the refund. i, als did not have a great tax year. >>un for esident on that platform. >> i think i'll stay here at newshour. jim tankersley, thank you so much. aw >>: the gig economy has opened up a lot of new opportunities for people to work temporary positions for platforms like uber, lyft, and taskrabbit.
in tonight's "brief but e spectacular," terrevenport explains why the gig economy doesn't work in his hometown of dumas, arkansas. davenport has worked as a soci entrepreneur, coaching low- income people how to participate in the digital economy >> so, in 2012, my brother was murdered. and there were a lot of questions arou, what happened to him. it was called a suicide. we found taser marks on hisbo . i couldn't get any traction with the police. i was told that i was, i was putting myself in a dangerous situation by raising the, raising the quesons that i was raising. and so, i decided that the way i would recompense my brother's death is by giving back to the folks that live in this town, and making sure that other young men had opportunities that my brother didn't have.
>> dumas is a small rural town in the mississippi delta. african-american population is about 65%. one-third of the population is below the poverty line. i went to college at the university of arkansas at yetteville. my pastor one day said that he needed a website done. so i decided to teaclf. there are not a lot of, you know, employs coming here to employ folks, mostly because of the low skill levels. i was thinking, itould really be interesting to use the ills that i have to teach folks how to earn income. whether it's web design skills alor any other type of dig skill. our go was to give people skills that they can use on digital platforms, like upwork.com, freelancer.com. we were dealing with n only occupational skills but low digital skills, which is really surprising in a digital age-- i had students that
didn't know what it meant to right-click, that didn't know what a "u.r.l." was. on most of the popular platforms, i took a look at the top 100 earners. there was not a single african american in those top 100 earners. and that kind of raised a question about the feasibility for domestic african america, actually earn a living on these platforms.in i as a nation, we have to take care of our own people. w and thatt i see, in the gig economy.co i see a lack oern for the well-being of others. i see decisions being made based on the dollar. e gig economy doesn't work for people that live in the area that i live in. if you live in a bigt ity, you can taskrabbit and go do a job. you can si up on uber, and make some money. when we're talking about online work platforms that require you to use real digital skills, then thesjobs become globalized.
it actually works against some of the dreams of the people that i'm rrounded by. my name is terrence davenport. this is my "brief but spectacular" take on life and work in rural arkansas. >> nawaz: and on the newshour online right now, we talk to one of the many resechers who contributed to the event horizon telescope.-y r-old katie bouman wrote the algorithm to turn disparate data into an image of a black hole. that's on our website, www.pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm amna nawaz. join us again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, and we'll see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> babbel. a language app that teachese real-lnversations in a new language, like spanish, french, rman, italian, and more. babbel's 10-15 minute lessons are available as an app, or
online. more information on babbel.com. >> bnsf railway. >> consumer cellular. >> financial services firm raymond james. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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